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October is the transitional month
  |  First Published: October 2014



Winter weather patterns slow and begin to take the shape of summer patterns throughout October. The weather has been warming and the sun has been very welcome, however snowfall can still be apart of the fun in mountainous areas.

Anglers see spring as generally the windiest time of the year. The late afternoon sea breezes can ruin our efforts to use the extra daylight. Don’t let this slight issue set you back as it’s right about now everything starts to fire. For the most part it will still be everything trout, but for those anglers looking for something different there is hope.

In the north, there has been a fabulous catch and release flathead bite. I say catch and release as the bigger females will be making their way into the coastal shallows to spawn. Does not make a whole heap of sense to take these lovely ladies out of the systems.

Trophy blue spots can be snared in and around Montague and the Stanley channels. The mouths and channels of most northwest rivers are worth a look. Super keen trophy hunters will eventually find themselves at the estuary at Port Sorrel. If you happen to land a cracker, carefully take a pic and slide her back in to make lots of wee bubby flatties.

Warmer water and warmer weather means great things for most anglers, but none more so that the dry fly chaps. The insects will be starting to go full sick crazy, not only causing havoc on your wind screens, but also allowing even the likes of me to trick a fish on dry fly. In the highlands the warmer water around the edges of lakes will also have the aquatic life on the move. When it comes to fly fishing I am very good and cracking fly’s off and getting a nice wind knot collection on my leader. So lets hear from an expert.

TROUT TRAFFIC

I caught up recently with Brendan Turriff who is an awesome reference on all things trout. He writes a fabulous blog that all trout fishers should check out (http://iheartthefly.com).

Brendan said that the sea runners and mayfly will dominate the action in October. The sea runners were about last month in solid numbers and with the increased white bait runs this will only improve.

Launceston Show Day generally marks the time when 21-22ºC days become more consistent and that's what mayfly love!

Mid October will see the mayflies emerge in good numbers and, if they can get past the frenzied trout, will live to the ripe old age of 2 days!

Brendan went onto say that if we get some spring rain, it changes everything. Tailing trout and frog feeders should become more of a focus. Normally the domain of the fly fisher with a skilfully tied Mrs Simpson or Sloan fur fly, however the wilder frog patterns the modern fly-tier has produced opens the door for the non-fly fishers amongst us.

The trout fishing around the lower levels for most will be all about the whitebait. Find the little long distance swimmers of the bait world and you will find some good trout feeding hungrily. This is true of the Derwent and upper reaches into New Norfolk, as well as all the western rivers down into the Gordon River.

I had the pleasure of fishing the Derwent round of the Lowrance Tasmanian Trout Classics. I was super impressed with the area we fished as it was my first time on that section of river. We fished from the Bridgewater Bridge back up to the New Norfolk township. We had the good sense to ask some advice of someone who fishes that area a great deal, Justin Causby. I asked Justin what we could expect in October for the area.

“October is a great month for trout up here. There are good numbers of whitebait and other baitfish and plenty of cover under the willows up near the township. Fishing the shallower shores over the shingles and up to the Big Bend are worth a look. All the way down the river there are some fantastic spots to try a soft plastic or hardbody. Position your boat in the main river and fish back towards you on a dropping tide.”

BREAM

The East Coast will really start to come on as we head into October and beyond. All the rivers start to see the aggregation of large numbers of spawning bream. The Swan is a prime destination for those targeting the bigger specimens and the Little Swanport never failing to deliver sensational sight fishing in the shallows and around the many and varied amounts of natural and artificial structure.

If we are going to talk sight fishing for bream, and indeed we are, then the Scamander River is the king of its domain. People flock to it year-in year-out and the fishery sustains it with ease. The drive further north will find us at St Helens and on the edges of Georges Bay.

The metal vibe is dynamite lure on bream for those in the know around Australia. I stumbled upon why they may not appeal to the larger number of fishos, as they work better when fished light. If you fish them on heavy leader of main line it will hamper their action and ability to excite fish. These lures are designed to attract an aggression bite as much as in hunger. The more action you can impart the more strikes you will have. Don’t be frightened to hop them as well.

Best technique is to wind and let settle, then little to medium sized hops and pause. Over muddy and sandy bottom with few snags is the best area to give this technique a crack. If it gets a bit snaggy try the lift and drop technique. Wind in with long slow rips of the rod tip up, then let the vibe do its thing and flutter to the bottom and repeat. They are a gun lure for covering a lot of ground as they cast a mile !

MIXED BAG

East Coast and St Georges Bay will be firing on all cylinders come mid October. Australian salmon will be in the bay in big schools and they must have extended lunch break as they can be in excess of 3kg. No one needs to be told that these fish are fabulous fun on lighter gear – the kids and I call them ‘Tassie barra’.

Chopper tailor are often cruising along with them so if you get some chew offs have a light trace in the tackle bag. There is always a chance of some pike or silver trevally in the bay, which is hard to beat and rarely lets you down.

If a feed of flathead is what you are after head into St Helens Bait and Tackle. Jamie will let you know where they have been and in what water depth offshore. The trick is to generally start shallow until you can find some fish. Don’t forget to use your sounder to mark productive spots.

STRIPEYs STILL CLOSED

All is not lost as there are still all manner of tasty reef fish to try and dislodge from the bottom. Blue eye trevalla , Hapuka and those funny looking pink ling.

The broadbill fishery has certainly excited the anglers of Tasmania that go wide. The true detail of when they are most active and where they are in Tasmanian waters is yet to be really nutted out. If you find the right conditions by all means drop a big bait down deep and see what you may find. The way the fishing has been offshore lately you would never know what you may catch.

• If you are light on information about where to start for Broadbill or any other species just head into a local tackle store and get the good oil. The staff of the technical stores have years and years of great advice and experience: Tassie Tackle And Outdoor Burnie Ultimate Fishing And Outdoors, Ulverstone Blue Peaks Devonport, Harrys Boat Shack Devonport, Wells Latrobe Fishing And Sport Georgetown, Tamar Marine Launceston, Gotya Bait And Tackle Launceston, Spot On Hobart Tackle One Cambridge/Hobart Rod And Range Moonah.

Seafest just keeps giving

The Triabunna Seafest was a water mark event for the community of Triabunna and the Game fishing scene itself. In its first year as a fishing competition it attracted over 60 boats over 2 days.

The boats ranged from 5m runabouts to the massive luxury vessel Blue Diamond. She is 48’ with twin Volvos pushing her 34 tonnes fully loaded. The Skipper and crew had a great time and are keen to return for the event in 2015, so keep an eye out for details.

The event had a great set of prizes and one of those was a 4 day trip to Arnhem land to fish the abundant sports fish they have available. It was a fabulous prize and was won by Rohan Stebbings. He was absolutely rapped and I have been keen to hear from him as he has recently returned. I spoke to Rohan and he gave up some time to share some brief thoughts.

Rohan’s Prize

I am back from an awesome trip to the Arnhem Land Barra Nature Lodge that I won at Triabunna Seafest. It was absolutely spectacular.

We were right into it from day one. I was picked up from the airport and taken straight to a boat waiting in the water. The guide greeted me and suggested, given the weather, we head straight out the front to chase some long tail tuna. It was fantastic and I ended up with two and one taken near the boat by a reasonable sized bronze whaler .

We then travelled inshore over the flats and up a little creek. My guide this day was Adrian. He suggested we troll to locate where the barra were holding in the river. We found a few small fish. We decided once the water started to move to head up stream and cast lures into some gutter mouths. These streams were draining off the flats and into the main channel on a falling tide. Ended the day very happy! Two long tail tuna and a dozen barra.

Day two and I fished with Adrian again. No blue water today just barra. The plan involved a small half hour steam to a different river system. We fished many different creeks and gutter mouths for 18 barra landed, including my biggest barra for the week at 80cm. The barra fight hard and jump heaps and I lost as many as I landed.

The suggestion was made to head down to the mouth to fish a drop off at the junction of two rivers. This time we fished with a lure that was like a cross between a vibe and a soft plastic. The plan was to cast to the shore and work the lure down the face of the drop. It was a great plan. I caught a small barra and two black jew, making a total for the day of 18 barra, two black jew and a couple of mangrove jack.

Day three was with a different guide. I was fortunate enough to fish with Lance Butler. Lance designs and tests all the Killalure prototypes and guides as well. We fished a different river system and a different technique. Mostly anchoring or tying to a snag and casting a Killalure prototype 80mm bibbed floating diver to snags and creek mouths. We caught a lot of fish for the day: between 30-40 barra, mangrove jack, one trevally, several catfish, a few cod and a couple of nice sized threadfin salmon. It was fantastic to spend a day with such a highly rated fisherman and a terrific bloke.

Day four was my last day and I fished with Ben. The tides were right to fish the flats so we headed down for a look. We fished the mangroves around the flats for a couple of hours for one barra and one hit. The tide change come on and was dropping so we headed back to the rivers. We fished snags, gutters and creeks for most of the day for 7 more fish. This place was amazing and the fishing very special.

With an hour and a half of fishing to go for the trip, Ben said it had been a ‘slow day’ and suggested we travel up stream to a junction he called ‘Save Ass Creek’. As we arrived we slowed the boat to idle. Ben said cast towards the stick in the bank and in my hurry to do so I missed the mark. I was apologising for a wayward cast when with the first twitch of the lure, I was on!

Before it was time to go we pulled another 19 barra from the one spot for another great day.

This was truly a trip of a lifetime – all the guides were excellent, the food was great and the whole lodge was run to maximise the experience of every guest. We would come off the water and have afternoon tea and talk to all the other guests and guides. It was a great atmosphere and an awesome way to learn from others. We would then head to our accommodation to rest and shower ready for a massive tea later in the evening. – Rohan Stebbings

LOWRANCE Tasmanian Trout Classic – Round 1

Held on the magnificent Derwent River, and home base in New Norfolk, this year’s event was sure to be a success.

Teams and boats converged on the Junction Motel for an event briefing and an amazing carvery tea. The rules were laid out and in a refreshing change, trolling was allowed in the event for this year. This of course has its lovers and haters, but my perspective is that it opens up new members and participants to these events, and as long as trolling teams are respectful of those throwing hardbodies and soft plastics it is a great initiative. I am sure the organisers will monitor this inclusion and give the concept a tickle here and there when it needs it.

The teams were full of beans, but most slunk away to talk tactics and ready gear for the battle ahead. And what a battle it was!

It was tough going for most anglers and the fish were sitting tight. Day one was cold and very foggy. The crews seemed to favour heading down river with the lion share racing off to the traditional sea runner shores down past Norske Skog and the Power Boat course. These crews were hoping to find fish feeding on whitebait heading up river on the incoming tide. The banks are lined with reeds and snags that hold fantastic silver footballs at this time of year. However, this was not how it played out.

The sea runners didn’t play the game and it was the teams that went up river looking for resident browns that fared well. The foggy conditions early accounted for most fish and it was on the tide change later in the day where the fish became active again.

Standout team on day one were Warmisham Lures with 10 fish. This was a tremendous effort from young guns Brendan Lovell and Will Thorpe. They found fish and managed to turn them over quickly. This had them in great form as the nearest team’s totals on day one was Team Rapid with 7 and River Monsters with 6 trout.

The Derwent River had tore some well fancied and experienced teams a new one. Testament to that were a number of teams that had registered the fearful ‘donut’ or only a couple of fish for their time on the water.

The gun crew of Cranka II was one such team. Skipper Darrel ‘Dazzling’ Wells and first mate Ashley ‘I’ve Got This’ Hallam had registered only a 2 fish total and had some work to do. I spoke to them at the boat ramp and they had a great attitude. There was not a bottom lip dropped to be seen. They acknowledged the fishing was tough and they praised the efforts of teams who ‘turned it on and shone’.

The fog cleared much earlier on day two and the sun came out to warm the field. Teams dug deep and those with work to do were excited and eager. The clocked ticked down and the boats were off and looking to find fish. The fishing was still tough and there was a great deal of discussion on boats with teams looking to break out.

Big movers on day two were the comedy coupling of Dazza and Ashley on Cranka II. They managed to storm up the leader board with a 6 trout haul. The boys were given some new reels to try from Team PENN, which they found to be very favourable.

Big news on the river however was that Team Warmisham who had bolted out of the gate day one. They had found the going tough day two with only 2 fish. This left the two teams who had also found fish day one breathing down their neck. In the end, as boats rushed back to the boat ramp to place their key tags on the board before 2pm, the story unfolded.

The competition was down to three teams who managed to catch 12 fish over the two days. Out in front, Warmisham were being mowed down by Team Damiki Tairyo Rods and Team Rapid. Team D.T. Rods had managed a solid weekend with 5 fish day one and 7 trout day two. Team Rapid the same, but around the other way. Nevertheless, this competition is decided on measured length of total fish caught.

Hanging on by 11cm was Team Warmisham Lures followed by Team Damiki Tairyo rods and Team Rapid in third.

The weekend was a cracker and like most fishing trips you don’t have to be catching heaps of fish to have an absolute ball.

Next round is at the Great Lake in Tasmania’s highlands – Mainland crews very welcome see ‘Tasmanian Trout Classics’ on Facebook for more details.

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